April 2021
Celebrate Stimson Avenue: Optimism Overcomes Covid & Construction
Imagine being the operator of a natural foods store on one of the busiest commercial corridors in Athens, Ohio. Just as you feel that sales are picking up after a year of the COVID-19 pandemic, another challenge to your customer base hits your retail business. Road construction on Stimson Avenue — down to one lane and only headed west.
Remaining amazingly upbeat, Kevin and Carrie Tidd, owner-operators of The Farmacy Natural Foods store soldier on. As Kevin explains: “we love our business, our customers and our community. We will figure out how to keep going serving the health needs of our shoppers and creating employment opportunities for our workers.”
Like many retailers, navigating the COVID pandemic has not been easy. They have made changes along the way, but are currently open Monday - Saturday from 9am - 6pm and on Sundays for 12pm - 5pm. They also starting offering free local delivery services in Athens and The Plains, recognizing that many customers needed new services. Free contactless and curbside service is also available with a phone call. Deli hours also continue from 11am - 3pm Monday - Saturday featuring smoothies, grab & go hot specials, soup, sandwiches and sides available all day, every day. Stop by or call to check out the daily selection.
Along with offering free delivery since March 2020, The Farmacy has provided over $2,000 of free groceries and supplements to community members via their Compassionate Community Project, the Giving Tree. Funded entirely by contributions from customers and community members who have “tipped” them for delivery and service, and donations for hand sewn masks by our family, this Pay it Forward program offers a platform for community members to share compassion.
Kevin and Carrie continue, “It feels critical at this time- now, more than ever- that we come together and lift each other up, supporting our small businesses and operations who have been a lifeline of continuity, familiarity and renewal to small communities. We truly are all #inthistogether.”
Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Extended
The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) application deadline has been extended to May 31st by the PPP Extension Act of 2021. This extension also gives the SBA a 30-day window to finish processing applications received by May 31. The SBA now has more time to address some of the challenges faced by applicants such as confusing validation and error codes and changes affecting self-employed borrowers.
Although this extension does not grant more money for PPP funding, the SBA predicts that they currently have enough to provide PPP loans through mid-April. So, don't wait until May to apply!

If you have question or would like assistance applying, contact ACEnet's Leslie Schaller at LeslieS@acenetworks.org
ACEnet Food Ventures Center 25th Anniversary!
April 2021 marks the 25th anniversary of the opening of ACEnet’s Food Venture Center in Athens, Ohio. The facility was one of the first rural, kitchen incubators to open in the U.S. Staff and tenants celebrated the grand opening by breaking a loaf of Crumbs Bakery’s Challah Bread. The planning, site selection and building renovation had been a long time in the making. That lead time allowed us to hit the ground running and the Food Ventures Center accommodated 40 food and farm businesses in its first year of operations.
The kitchen incubator model was such a new idea that it took us a bit to raise the project budget. But with grants and loans from the USDAOhio Department of Development, the Ohio Department of Agriculture, the support of Hocking Valley Bank and a linked deposit from the Finance Fund, our vision became a reality. We were also frugal stewards of the project budget, securing equipment from The Ridges old kitchen, Nationwide Insurance, and the OSU Food Science & Technology program. An old beer cooler with glass doors on the side became our first walk-in cooler.
Former ACEnet founders and leaders: June Holley, Marti Zinn, Roger Wilkins, Amy Borgstrom, Jeanne Donado, and a willing Board of Directors provided the critical support to chart this new course. Designing the facility was ably facilitated by David Callahan of RVC Architects, and all of our contractors, who never built anything like the Food Ventures Center before.
Fast forward to April 2021, the Food Ventures Center, now coupled with our Food and Farm Enterprise Center, have assisted over 400 food and farm entrepreneurs. And let’s not be modest, those food entrepreneurs have lifted Athens County and Appalachia Ohio to become one of the premier local food economies in the country. Or as we like to say, The Appalachia Ohio Garden of Eatin’.
Over the next few months we will continue to journey down memory lane, so stay tuned to our social media posts and upcoming e-newsletters for more photos and reminisces. We would love to hear from you—current and former tenants, clients, funders, partners, inspectors, educators, and ACEnet staff and Board members—share your stories! If you have old photos from the past 25 years please send them to leslies@acenetworks.org. Leslie Schaller, current Director of Programs, original FVC project manager and food economy “long hauler.” The next installment—the 1999 center expansion.
Ohio's Winding Road - Opportunity for Makers
Ohio's Winding Road is looking for new vendors for their Ohio's Winding Road Marketplace Spring / Summer Pop-Up in Shawnee. They also sell products online. All of the items in the Marketplace are locally made by artisans and producers in their nine-county region (Morgan, Athens, Perry, Hocking, Fairfield, Vinton, Meigs, Washington, and Muskingum). As with the previous pop-up, they are doing wholesale purchases of products, rather than working on commission.

If you are an interested producer, please fill out this short Marketplace Vendor Form.
Exciting Food News!
Red Barn: Simply Good Chili
New ACEnet Food Ventures tenant Red Barn Chili has been operating in Columbus for a few year, focusing on catering and neighborhood pop-up events with their Red Barn Chili Wagon.

Red Barn came to ACEnet to begin jarring their chilis. After some intensive product development including increasing, or modifying the cooking process through the introduction of high-acid ingredients such as lemon juice or citric acid, ACEnet Food Enterprise Coordinator, Adam Kody, and Red Barn were able to get their vegan chili pH down into compliant levels for shelf stability.
We are hoping to have their first production within the next month, so stay tuned!
Park's Place: Menu Additions
Park's Place in Amesville is a casual dining establishment in Amesville, Ohio which offers sit-down or to-go experiences with freshly made, locally sourced and high-quality meal options for families at a reasonable price.

They now offer pizza (classic pies & signature pies like Nashville Hot and Umami), strombolis & subs! Check out their menu, stop by & pick up a pizza, or try our their new coffee nook.
Appalachian Wood Craft Scholarship
Are you a woodworking enthusiast looking to turn your passion into a profession?

Thanks to Rural Action, ACEnet, and the Hocking Makers Network at Hocking College, Rural Action is able to offer full and partial scholarships to The Community MakerSpace at UpCycle Ohio in Athens. The scholarships include a full year MakerSpace membership (a $400 value) that will give you not only access to many of the tools you’ll need, but also lessons on how to use them and how to run a business.

Scholarship recipients must agree to attend a total of 10 trainings offered through ACEnet, Hocking College, or affiliated partners that will help them build a business or gain the skills necessary to produce a product. They will also need to meet with an ACEnet small business support specialist for a one-on-one meeting.
From creating and selling products to promoting your business through social media, the Appalachian Wood Craft Scholarship offers a wide array of courses to help you build your business. Click here for the full list.

Scholarships will be awarded based on a variety of factors ranging from economic need to the applicant’s desire to start a business. If you have questions before filling out your application, reach out to ShannonP@ruralaction.org at The Community MakerSpace.
The Road to Reentry: Community Forum Revisited
On March 16th, ACEnet hosted The Road to Reentry: Community Forum – Reentry information for those released between March 17 – Dec 31, 2021: What to expect when your family member gets home.

The Zoom event recording is accessible below, along with additional reentry resources. You’ll learn about the Athens County Reentry Program, ODRC reentry process, reentry processes inside prison, OMHAS (Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services) services and their connections with reentry, hear questions about the Adult Parole Authority answered, and learn about the importance of community and family involvement in the reentry process.
Additional resources include:

Athens County Reentry Program Telelog – provides useful county services contact information
Opportunity for Artists, Makers Coming Soon!
Opening soon: Appalachian Gypsy in Middleport, Ohio featuring local artisans, crafters, vintage & antiques and more.

Interested in selling your art, jewelry, wood items and other unique hand-made wares? Space is available for monthly rent of $50 + 5% commission, with a discount on first month's rent.

For more information, contact evanshollowfarm@gmail.com
UpBeat: Activities for Older Adults
Have you heard of UpBEAT? A program sponsored by OhioHealth O'Bleness Hospital in Athens, Ohio, UpBEAT offers free programs for those in our community 55 years and older.

In April, UpBEAT will focus on advance directives, emergency preparedness for older adults, container gardening, and will explore the culture and history of music within America. In addition to these topics, there is a book club, singing group, and exercise class for members to participate in. If you're 55+, connect with UpBEAT. https://www.ohiohealth.com/health-and-wellness/upbeat-program-athens You can also call Caitlin Bond, UpBEAT Program Coordinator, at (740) 566-4680 for more info or to receive the UpBEAT newsletter.
Saving for something big, or trying to get your spending in check? Need some help making a personal budget?
Check out ACEnet client Big Time Bookkeeping!
Would you like to help keep plastic film items like grocery bags from going to landfills & turn into park benches instead?
Project ends May 15th, 2021, see flyer for drop off locations!
Upcoming Events
Saturdays, 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM, vulnerable population 8:30 AM - 9:00 AM
The Athens Farmers Market takes place year round on Saturday and from mid-April up to Thanksgiving on Wednesday at the Market on State Shopping Mall. Vendors are both inside (the old Elder Beerman store) and outside December through March. For more information & information on becoming a vendor, see the Athens Farmers Market website.

Thursday, April 22nd; 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM
Webinar: Product Pricing for Online Sales, presented by ACEnet staff. When you start selling online, you need to consider the additional costs when setting prices for your product. Shipping supplies, website upkeep fees & more. We;ll be discussing setting prices that still give you the profit margin you need. This webinar is supported by the Spectrum Digital Education Grant program.
Spring is in the air---time to think farmers markets! The last year of COVID-19 has created new challenges and opportunities for farmers market vendors, Boards and managers. Please join ACEnet's Leslie Schaller and a diverse for group of market presenters, as they share tips and tools to expand their markets this season--by keeping safe, attracting customers, recruiting new vendors and promoting community partnerships.

Thursday, April 22nd; 4:30 PM - 5:30 pm
Webinar: Policies, Procedures and Site Tips. The workshop will share ways markets have adapted to assure customer and vendor safety during the market season. Learn from other market managers how they have changed site plans, instituted new COVID procedures, and promoted their farmers markets to attract new customers interested in finding local food. 
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 834 1267 7069

Thursday, April 29th; 4:30 PM - 5:30 PM
Webinar: Promotion and Partnerships. Community partnerships help farmers market thrive. Area market leaders and managers will share stories on how they have partnered with other organizations, businesses and agencies to promote the market. Examples of funding strategies and sponsorships will be highlighted.
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 857 2478 7580

Thursday, May 6th; 4:30 PM - 5:30 PM
Webinar: Recruitment Practices and Vendor Satisfaction. The right mix of vendor makes for a successful farmers market. The number of farmers markets are growing, creating new competition for vendors. The workshop will recommend ways to attract new vendors and retain you established vendors. 
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 863 6254 6611

All the farmers market workshops will be hosted on zoom and each will host experts from the field sharing their experiences. Stay tuned to the ACEnet facebook page for more information.

If you have questions, or would like to share you story, please contact Leslie at leslies@acenetworks.org
Your tax-deductible contribution helps ACEnet expand economic opportunities in the Appalachian Ohio Region! Thank you for your continued interest in and support of what we do here at ACEnet!
Meggan Loveland
Appalachian Center for Economic Networks
94 Columbus Rd, Athens, OH 45701 
(740) 592-3854